French GP: Bridgestone Saturday qualifying notes

Front row start for Schumacher in France Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Michael Schumacher will start from the front row of the grid for tomorrow's 70-lap French Grand Prix. The current championship leader, who has already won eight of the nine...

Front row start for Schumacher in France

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Michael Schumacher will start from the front row of the grid for tomorrow's 70-lap French Grand Prix. The current championship leader, who has already won eight of the nine races so far this season, was just pipped to pole by Renault's Fernando Alonso by a small margin of 0.273 seconds and it looks like the stage is set for a thrilling battle off the line tomorrow afternoon.

Rubens Barrichello, meanwhile, was unable to take part in first qualifying due to a problem with his car and although he had a strong run in the second session, was at an obvious disadvantage. Like the Sauber Petronas, Jordan Ford and Wilux Minardi Cosworth runners, he will be aiming to make the most of Bridgestone's extremely competitive race tyres on Sunday.

Hisao Suganuma, Technical Manager of Bridgestone Motorsport:

"A little disappointed not to be on pole but a front row start for Michael is pretty good and I'm confident he'll do well and be competitive. Rubens unfortunately couldn't start first qualifying so he gave final qualifying his best shot and lies mid field. But I think with the tyres we have provided he should be able to maximize their potential to help him work up the field once the race is under way. This applies also for the Sauber, Jordan and Minardi drivers who I also think have the potential to have a competitive race and build on their points' scores. One thing is for sure, it looks like it will be an exciting Grand Prix tomorrow!"

Ross Brawn, Technical Director of Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro:

"Well, we would have preferred to be on pole but with Michael and Alonso both on the front of the grid, I'm not sure which way it would have gone in the first corner anyway! Michael didn't seem to have a good last sector for some reason but we're reasonably happy. It's certainly given us a challenge tomorrow. We'll work on our strategy this evening as I think there is lots of potential in fact I think it's a multi-stop race."

"We also know that the Bridgestone tyres will be very good in the race. We're a bit disappointed for Rubens but I think not giving him a run in first qualifying made it very difficult. He had a problem with the car and we decided the best thing was to fix it and forego first qualifying to make sure we had a good car for second qualifying."

-bridgestone-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Fernando Alonso , Ross Brawn
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Minardi , Jordan